This week, ABC Nightline featured a married couple with their own TV show – not about duck hunting or crazy stunts, but about their "open" love-life, where both husband and wife sleep around, supposedly without jealousy.
"They're spreading the gospel of polyamory, hoping to speed up societal acceptance of this kind of set-up," ABC's Nick Watt explained. "Most marriages in America do end in divorce, so maybe adding other lovers to the mix could improve the odds," so the segment opened to introduce the idea of polyamory.
Michael McClure and Kamala Devi star in Showtime's "Polyamory: Married and Dating," and currently live with McClure's girlfriend Rachel. Devi told Nightline that when Michael first met Rachel, "I saw Michael lit up, I saw him happy." Watt replied, "if my wife saw my face light up when I looked at another woman, she'd be pissed."
"She's probably threatened that you'd leave her for another woman, and if you're monogamous, that's your only option, right?" Devi shot back. She argued for the virtue of options in open relationships, even in marriage.
"People are not staying nearly as faithful as they used to," psychologist Karen Stewart, who specializes in sex therapy, said on the show. "The world has become a much smaller place – we can seek out connections, there's dating sites on every street corner."
Devi insisted that Rachel, her husband's live-in girlfriend, is not a threat but a support. "We share life together – I've got a son, and it takes a village to raise a child," Devi said. The boy, six-year-old Devin, said "I'm grateful for this loving family that lives here."
"He understands the word 'polyamory'…he doesn't really know what sex is yet," McClure explained. Stewart, the psychologist, criticized the family for not thinking this situation through. "When he goes to school in ten years and brings dates home, this is probably going to be a little complicated for him," the psychologist argued.
If Devi and McClure have their way, however, that won't be a problem. "I really think that society in ten years is going to be like 'this is a new paradigm,'" Devi said. McClure insisted that polyamory and open marriages will become quite normal. "It is quite normal already, it's just not out of the closet yet," McClure said.
Watt briefly explained the polyamorous "family tree" in which both McClure and Devi feature. McClure's girlfriend Rachel also has another boyfriend in Florida, Mikey, as well as a girlfriend Thalia, and another male lover, James, who also sleeps with Devi. Over the summer, Devi had a fling with one of McClure's coworkers, Jason. Before Rachel, Devi and McClure lived with another polyamorous couple, Tahl and Jennifer.
Devi also has a girlfriend of two years, called Roxanne. "Roxanne's my girlfriend," McClure's wife explained. "Last year, I was really possessive, but I learned how to share her with Michael."
"Monogamy can be a really beautiful agreement between people when they're deeply in love and they don't have desire for another, but most people in our society are just monogamous because their vows said 'I will forsake all others for you,'" Devi argued. As for herself, she prefers more options.
"Watching your spouse having sex with somebody else is not really my bag, I've got to say," Watt admitted. Stewart, the psychologist, agreed with him – in a very non-judgmental kind of way. "It's not my bag either," she said, refusing to take a stance for or against polyamory in general.